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Bologna is the capital city of the region Emilia-Romagna in Italy. It is situated between the Appennines and the river Po in the north of Italy. The city is home of the oldest university in the world. There are now over 100 000 students.
Towards all directions
There is a service station near Cantagallo. Take the bus #20B to its last station "San Biagio". There you walk 200 metres until you reach the fences of the service station. Another option to get there is to take the bus #20 to Casalecchio (departs at Via dell Indipendenza). There change the bus or take the bus #89 and go to its last station called San Biagio. There you walk 200 metres until you reach the fences of the service station. [If you get off two stations before the last station (at the station called San Biagio Micca; just after the bridge over the highway), than you have less to walk.]
Normally you can't enter the service station. There are fences you can't cross. But there is a little parking lot of the service station staff. You can ring there and maybe they will open you. If not, at the service station on the other side of the motorway there is a little hole in the fence, where you can enter.
Heading North (Genova, Milano, Parma etc.)
If you're heading north (Genova, Milano, Parma etc.), get off the bus at Casalecchio C.S. Allende. Cross the road, follow the path off the main road, then turn right - there's a parking lot and the entrance to the service station. It was closed when we came, but the staff was friendly and opened the door for us on condition that we wouldn't tell anyone that they did it.
If you're heading south (Florence, Rome etc.), get off at San Biagio and go to the right along the motorway. There's some sort of park there, and in the end there's a place where you cross the railway and reach the fence of the service station. Go further to the right along the service station, and around the corner there're stairs going up to the service station with no fences.
If you walk around the side of the fence you will find a small gate. It was open when we went, but anyway it is very low and easy to climb over. This takes you straight into the service area
Crossing the motorway outside the service station is a bit difficult. You can try it under the motorway through the building site, but it is muddy. It is easier to get off the bus #89 one stop before, before it crosses the motorway. The name of the stop is: Casalecchio C.s. Allende.
Once you are inside the service station, you can cross the motorway easily. Enter the building and go up on the stairs to the restaurant. Now go down on the other side of the motorway. Attention: You are not able to cross the motorway in the morning, because the restaurant is closed. But if you have luck, the barmen will help you.
You have to get to the first service area on the motorway about 20 kms from the centre. It is called Castel Bentivoglio. There is a bus stop close by, called Bentivoglio Zona industriale Barche (often abbreviated like Bentivoglio Z. i. Barche). Some of the bus lines only go few times a day, mainly in the morning and evening, taking (very helpful) workers to work and back home. Easiest is to take #446 to Soletto which goes directly from the Bologna central bus station 4-6 times a day. It takes 30min (timetable ). You can also use the route planner of the Bologna public transport company here: . For the arrival town, put Bentivoglio, for the stop: Bentivoglio Z. i. Barche.
From the bus stop, you take the road parallel to the motorway. You pass some factories, the motorway should be behind them. After 500 m there is a crossroad to the right. The service area is just at the end of it. There is a fence, but I had no problem of getting in, the door was open. If it is closed, you can try to ring or ask for the help of the 'locals'.
Going to and from the Airport
Actually you are supposed to take the BLQ Airport Express bus to and from the Airport towards Bologna main station. But it costs 5 Euros, which is a lot compared to any normal bus ticket, which costs you just 1 Euro. So, instead of taking the Express bus, take buses #91 and #81 from the main station and get off at stop "Birra". It is the last urban area before you cross the motorway to get to the airport. Obtain the 1€ ticket in advance @ the tabac as you may not do it while entering the bus #91, #81. There is also a supermarket "Conad" right next to the stop & small fenced park allowing you to rest in a shade. To get to the Airport will take you 15 minutes by foot from there, pavements are provided the whole way. Just follow the direction the bus goes and you cannot miss it. Stick to the left side of the road. To get there FROM the airport is quite easy if you have a map, if you do not you may get it free at the airport tourist information (together with may other useful info end even exact map of the region of Emilia-Romania). From the arrival hall head straight ahead. Cross the round-about with a city center marks visible and follow it. Then the pavement path turns right and leads you under the motorway bridge. from there you may already some buildings 100 m. away. Go towards them. The mentioned busses run from the morning until 8 p.m.